Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP)
Country Profile: Ethiopia
79,100,000 (2007 estimate)
Amharic; English (there are more than 75 officially recognised regional languages, e.g.: Tigrinya; Oromifa; Tigre; Harari; Agaw; Afar)
|Poverty (Population living on less than US$1 per day):|
|Total Expenditure on Education as % of GNP|
6.1 (2005 estimate)
|Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)|
|Total Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years)|
|Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 1995-2004)|
|Programme Title||Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP)|
|Implementing Organization||dvv International’s Regional Office, East and Horn of Africa|
|Language of Instruction||multi-lingual (e.g. Amharic; Tigrinya; Oromifa; Tigre)|
|Funding||The Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE)|
|Programme Partners||Federal Government through the Ministry of Education (MoE) and other related Bureaus, Woreda and Kebele offices such as Women’s Affairs, Agriculture, TVET and Trade and Industry; NGOs and Women’s Associations.|
|Date of Inception||mid-2006 (five-year pilot phase)|
Background and Context
Over the past few decades, Ethiopia has instituted various educational programmes including the universal, free and compulsory primary education programme (for children under 15 years); the Technical Vocational Education and Training Programme (TVETP, for out-of-school youth and adults), and the Basic Adult Non-formal Education (or Adult Literacy) programme in an effort to make education more accessible to all and thus to combat illiteracy; promote development, poverty reduction and social transformation. However, in spite of these concerted efforts, the rate of adult illiteracy in the country remains alarmingly high, particularly among adult women. According to UNESCO, more than 60% and 75% of the total adult population and adult female population, respectively, was functionally illiterate and unskilled as of 2003–2007.
The high rate of functional illiteracy among adult women is partly a result of most families’ preference of educating male over female children; economic and cultural barriers which prevents girls and women from accessing education; the lack of concerted political support necessary for the sustainable implementation of existing adult literacy education programmes and the inability of existing adult education programmes to address women’s basic livelihood needs since most continue to prioritise basic literacy over livelihood skills training and support. In light of this and recognising that a holistic, livelihood-oriented approach to adult education is more appealing to adult women due to their familial responsibilities as well as the fact that educating women has a strong potential to stimulate community development, combat poverty and improve familial living standards, DVV International in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the The Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) and various other NGOs instituted the Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP) in mid-2006.
The Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme (IWEP)
The IWEP is an integrated educational programme which provides functional literacy education; livelihoods / non-formal vocational skills training; and entrepreneurial or business training and support to adult women. The IWEP is therefore an innovative educational project which combines three major components of adult non-formal education which have traditionally been developed and implemented as separate programmes. The IWEP particularly targets women living in marginalized semi-urban and rural communities not only because they are often excluded from existing educational programmes due to poverty but also because their ability to access education is often encumbered by entrenched cultural practices. Currently, the programme is being implemented in six regional administrative states: Afar, Addis Ababa City Administration; Tigray; Oromia; Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR). However, DVV’s long-term goal is to implement the programme across the entire nation after the pilot phase.
As noted above, the IWEP emerged out of the realisation that adult educational programmes that prioritised both literacy and livelihood skills training and support were more effective in empowering and transforming the lives of the poor than programmes that focused exclusively on basic literacy education. Hence, the IWEP aims to empower adult women through an integrated approach to functional literacy, livelihoods and business skills training and support as depicted below:
Aims and Objectives
The major aim of the IWEP during the pilot phase is to develop, implement and test the efficacy of a comprehensive and integrated approach to adult education in empowering adult women and their households as well as in combating illiteracy and poverty among the poor. In other words, the IWEP aims to develop a holistic, integrated and gender-sensitive adult education model with a strong potential to empower women by addressing their basic literacy and unique existential or livelihood needs. The establishment of such a holistic model is expected to contribute to the implementation of the National Adult Education Strategy of Ethiopia. Accordingly, the IWEP aims to:
- Make education more accessible to disadvantaged adult women in order to contribute to the National Adult Education Strategy in combating the scourge of illiteracy in the country;
- Empower socially disadvantaged women and their families through integrated literacy and life skills training as well as entrepreneurial support;
- Improve women and, by extension, their families’ living standards (poverty alleviation / reduction) through need-based training and entrepreneurial support;
- Enable women to become more productive and enterprising through livelihood or vocational skills training;
- Enable women to be self-reliant in order to reduce their social vulnerability; and
- Empower women to participate more actively in community development and in the education of their children.
Programme Implementation: Approaches and Methodologies
As noted above, the IWEP has three major components, namely functional adult literacy, skills training and entrepreneurship support (business skill training and access to finance through saving and loan schemes, small scale credit, grants, etc.). The programme thus requires specific and innovative implementation approaches and modalities to bring about the integration required for its success and sustainability. To this end, the following key activities are often undertaken during the institutionalization of the programme at the community level:
- Forming Woreda Steering Committees and Technical Teams and signing Memorandums of Understanding;
- Selection of Women Group Facilitators;
- Establishment of Centre Management Committees;
- Training of Women Group Facilitators in Literacy (FAL/Reflect);
- Establish and equip learning centres for groups to meet;
- Conduct situation analysis, baseline study and learner assessments;
- Conduct market assessment and analyse the results in order to plan for relevant skills training to be conducted;
- Contract service providers/technical partners to provide skills training for women groups;
- Train facilitators and experts and provide business skills training with literacy in an integrated manner to women groups;
- Provide Business Development Support Services (BDS) to women groups on regular basis to assess success of business, market linkages, etc.
- Based on IWEP’s criteria provide access to start-up capital through different mechanisms and approaches, e.g. Self-Help Group Approach, Cooperatives, Revolving Credit, Matching Fund, etc.
Institutional Roles and Responsibilities
For effective integration purposes, partner institutions are working together in a ‘cluster approach’ where different sectoral partners co-operate and bring their effort and expertise together to contribute towards the success and sustainability of the IWEP. Accordingly, the IWEP is currently being implemented by DVV International in close collaboration / partnership with various institutions including Governmental (related Bureaus and Woreda offices such as Education, Women Affairs, Agriculture, TVET and Trade and Industry), NGOs, Women’s Associations, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and Community Facilitators. IWEP’s partnership modality can be depicted as follows:
This collaboration has enabled DVV International to implement the IWEP through the use of existing national and community-level organizational structures and leadership as well as institutional resources, expertise and amenities such as the Community Skill Training Centres (CSTCs) and Vocational Training Centres (VTCs). Most importantly, the collaboration has also enabled DVV International to embed the IWEP into the partner organisations’ existing community development initiatives, an aspect which has not only reduced the barriers to the programme’s initial implementation (i.e. take-off) but ensured its potential sustainability.
In order to ensure the effective and sustainable implementation of the IWEP, a partners’ programme coordinating committee, the Central Programme Implementation Unit (CPIU), has been established. The CPIU, which comprises experts from various educational and developmental fields working under the overall supervision of DVV International, has the overall responsibility of providing technical and financial support to partner organisations for the implementation of the programme. The CPIU’s key functions thus include:
- designing / developing the programme’s multi-lingual curricula and teaching-learning materials;
- developing programme implementation strategies;
- monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the IWEP and training of community-based programme facilitators;
- Conducting research studies on best adult education practices;
- Conduct Training of Trainer’s Workshops and advisory service in IWEP’s key components and the teaching-learning methodologies used in each of these components, i.e.:
- FAL and Reflect Approaches;
- Entrepreneurship Support:
- Market Assessment Training & Business Skill and BDS training and support;
- Skills Training:
- Training of CSTC Coordinators, Advice on Training of Trainers for Instructors in different skill courses as identified during market assessments.
- Develop and provide Materials in the form of Manuals, Handbooks and other support materials to partners in order to conduct their own training and implementation processes. These materials relate to the above-mentioned methodologies and general programme support;
- Capacity Building: this includes
- orientating programme partners in IWEP’s approach and modality and provide a detailed Partner Guideline; providing professional training to CSTC coordinators in managing Community Skill Training Centres.
The planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programme activities at the regional, woreda (district), kebele (sub-districts) and community levels is managed and coordinated by the Regional Coordination Units / Committees (RCU/Cs) or Regional Steering Committees (RSCs) through the district and sub-district steering committees, community learning centres (CLCs) management committees as well as a network of CBOs, particularly women’s groups. Centre Management Committees play a coordinating role at community level. Furthermore, technical teams are formed to train community facilitators and supervise and follow-up the progress of the women groups on literacy, skills training and business development. Typically, a technical team will comprise of experts from, for example, the Education, Agriculture, Women Affairs and TVET Offices as well as experts/staff from local NGOs. The main functions of a technical team include:
- Education Bureaus and Offices: for support on literacy.
- Trade and Industry (MSE) Bureaus and Offices: for support on market assessments and business skill training.
- Agricultural and Rural Development Bureaus and Offices: for technical skill training through their Farmer Training Centers (FTCs) as well as business skill training and market assessments.
- TVET Bureaus and Offices: for technical skill training in Community Skill Training Centers (CSTCs).
- Women Affairs Bureaus and Offices: for support on women group mobilisation and orientation and oversight/monitoring.
Essentially therefore, the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the IWEP is based on a decentralized approach, involving the division of roles and responsibilities between the various technical and primary (programme implementing) partners, women’s groups, community facilitators, experts and partner organisations.
Programme / Curriculum Design and Implementation
IWEP has considered the work done by John Oxenham and others on the integration of literacy and livelihoods and the identification of five categories of typical projects that can be found all over Africa. Based on this categorization, IWEP has decided on three key entry points for partners to design their programmes. The entry points can be described as follows:
Depending on the current status and entry point, partner organizations will design an appropriate strategy considering the fact that women in communities often have limited time and cannot engage in all activities at once.
Recruitment and Training of Programme Facilitators
DVV International has engaged and entrusted the training of programme participants to a cohort of community-based programme facilitators or trainers, most of whom are local women. IWEP facilitators are usually identified and seconded for training by the community through the woreda (district), kebele (sub-district) programme steering committees. After being recruited, facilitators receive professional training in adult education practices and approaches used in the IWEP. In particular, facilitators receive training in class room / group management, non-formal adult education participatory teaching-learning methodologies and approaches (i.e. REFLECT and Functional Adult Literacy) and time management.
Programme facilitators conduct literacy and vocational skills training classes for women groups for 2 - 3 times a week, with each learning session lasting for about 2 – 3 hours. Apart from providing training services, facilitators are also tasked to:
- Identify and organize learners (women groups);
- Engage in Community Mobilisation;
- Plan and prepare learning lessons and keep records of all activities;
- Assess and evaluate the progress of learners continuously;
- Facilitate Business Skill Training for the group;
- Conduct situation analysis in order identify the community’s needs to be address through training of women; and
- Ensure that women groups receive effective literacy, vocational and entrepreneurship skills training and support.
Facilitators work under a programme supervisor from a primary or programme implementing institutional partner. Each supervisor oversees between 10 and 15 community facilitators or groups depending on geographical distance. Apart from the monthly visits to CSTCs, supervisors also take responsibility for conducting training and refresher workshops of facilitators, writing monthly reports, developing materials, etc. Finally, both the facilitators and supervisors are also trained in time management not only to ensure that the programme goals are achieved in a cost effective manner but also to ensure that women have access to the IWEP’s key components in a manner that will not overburden them in terms of time spent in the project.
Teaching-Learning Approaches and Methods
As emphasised above, the IWEP has three integrated skills training components: functional adult literacy, livelihood skills training and entrepreneurship skills training and support. Accordingly, the programme employs various participatory and gender-sensitive teaching-learning methods in order to ensure that each component is delivered efficiently. The component-specific teaching-learning methodologies are highlighted in turn:
Literacy Teaching-Learning Methodologies
The IWEP primarily employs the Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) and REFLECT teaching-learning methodologies or approaches in its literacy classes. Although both approaches are in essence having a functional element and focus on literacy, there are some differences which make the different methodologies more suited for different groups. FAL is a more structured approach that follows a certain curriculum with specific materials, while REFLECT can be designed to directly focus on the local issues of the groups and combines the literacy with the other elements such as income generation activities (IGA) and development activities in an integrated manner. FAL refers to a situation where literacy is integrated with the every day activities that people are engaged in, in order to motivate adult learners to attend literacy classes regularly and apply what they have learned in their immediate environment.
Livelihoods Teaching-Learning Methodologies
Similarly, specific REFLECT and gender-sensitive teaching-learning methodologies have been developed and contextualised the IWEP’s livelihoods / vocational and entrepreneurship skills training and support programme component. In addition, training manuals have been developed and translated for:
- Market Assessment,
- Business Skill Training (Also integrated with Literacy and Numeracy); and
- Business Development Support Services.
In order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, experts have been engaged to provide technical vocational skills and business development training and support to participants. In addition, the IWEP also relies heavily on institutional partners’ practical working experiences and practices with Self Help Groups (SHG) and / or Cooperatives to provide participants with technical Business Development Support Services including training and support to establish and manage group (women’s revolving) savings and credit schemes; income generating activities as well as access to business start-up capital from IWEP’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Fu nd.
In order to ensure effective teaching / training and learning, the IWEP has also assisted partners in material development and to date the following training manuals and learning materials have been developed and translated into Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromifa languages:
- FAL Curriculum Framework;
- FAL Curriculum Guide;
- FAL Writers’ Manual;
- FAL ToT Manual;
- FAL Facilitators’ Guide;
- Reflect ToT Manual;
- Reflect Facilitators’ Guide;
- Integrated FAL/Business Skill Facilitator Guide; and
- Integrated Reflect/Business Skill Facilitator Guide.
Programme Impact and Challenges
In spite of progress being made in many areas of the programme’s implementation, challenges, including the following, still exist:
- Regional Bureaus of Education and Women Affairs do not always co-operate as desired and lack commitment towards the Programme;
- Although NGO partners generally have better implementation capacity than their government counterparts, they are not always used to work in an integrated implementation modality such as IWEP’s. As such, cooperation with a donor who is at the same time a technical partner also brings tension and IWEP continuously has to strike a balance between maximizing NGO partners’ individual implementation approaches while at the same time ensuring that the programme will reach its objectives. IWEP’s partnership strategy and approach is therefore a key factor in the programme’s success or failure.
- The Programme’s sustainability is challenged by the fact that many government and NGO partners’ willingness to co-operate only on a per diem based and top-up of salary approach. IWEP’s efforts to embed the programme in the institutional operations of its partners remain challenging, especially in the case of Government partners.
- Some of the methodologies and approaches used in IWEP such as FAL and Reflect are not well established in Ethiopia and require capacity building and mentoring efforts beyond what was originally anticipated. This also holds true for the livelihoods component of the programme.
Mr Gerhard Quincke
Director dvv international
Regional Office East Africa/ Horn of Africa
P.O.Box 34743, Addis Ababa,
E-mail: User: dvv-international
Host: (at) ethionet.et / User: quincke
Host: (at) dvv-international.org.et
Last update: 30 June 2010